The Kingdom of Silk was a place where wishes sometimes come true. But even there, you couldn’t wish away something that had already happened, no matter how much you wanted to, or how tightly you closed your eyes, or how hard you clenched your fists when you wished. Nell said the best you can wish for is that it never happens again. Now she was fifteen, Scarlet wasn’t certain whether wishes could ever come true. She had yet to discover what could be done with black tights and a broken bridge.
Each time I pick up a Kingdom of Silk book I am completely in awe of the elegant writing, the beautiful characterisation, the hope and love that shine through the simple stories. They are simple stories. They deal with hard things – death of a child, fostering, adoption, war and peace, but in such a gentle yet honest way that these books are wonderful ways to address this type of topic with children. And yet they are above all else, stories of wonder and childhood, dreams and family, and they are utterly wonderful examples of that too.
I want to be a child in the Kingdom of the Silk and yet the underlying message of these books (or the one that I’m hearing today) is that you’re never too old to bring a little magic back into your own world. My middling child isn’t yet an independent reader, but I’m stacking these books on a shelf for the day that she is, and in the mean time, I’m cherishing them for myself. Today I was feeling a bit lost and aimless, and while this book made me cry, as I think all of them have, I loved it, and was sad that it finished so quickly.
The stories are woven through with the ordinary magic that all children should experience, of wishes, family times and changing the world for the better, one person at a time. The messages are simple, but worth all of us remembering. I can’t recommend these books enough. And the gentle illustrations, sprinkled throughout, do much to add to the magic. I only wish they were in colour, as I adore the covers to this series, and would love to see more of the art work.
If you’ve yet to visit the Kingdom of Silk, what are you waiting for? The series starts with The Naming of Tishkin Silk, where Tishkin is the child who didn’t stay. Other books, such as Perry Angel’s suitcase and All the colours of Paradise cover fostering and adoption.